Inquiries in Psychoanalysis: Collected papers of Edna O'Shaughnessy: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Inquiries in Psychoanalysis: Collected papers of Edna O'Shaughnessy

1st Edition

By Edna O'Shaughnessy

Edited by Richard Rusbridger


322 pages

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The papers of Edna O’Shaughnessy are among the finest to be found in psychoanalytic writing. Her work is unified not so much by its subject matter, which is diverse, but by her underlying preoccupations, including the nature of psychic reality and subjectivity, and the psychic limits of endurance and reparation.

Here a selection of her work, edited and with an introduction by Richard Rusbridger, is brought together in a collection which demonstrates the contribution that O’Shaughnessy has made to many areas of psychoanalysis, from personality organisations, the superego, psychic refuges and the Oedipus complex to the subject of whether a liar can be psychoanalysed. Inquiries in Psychoanalysis is a record of clinical work and thinking over sixty years of psychoanalytic practice with children and adults.

This wide-ranging selection of work will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and students.


"An outstanding collection of papers many of us have been waiting for. Edna O’Shaughnessy is one of the most penetrating and original psychoanalysts today. These impressive papers offer the reader much interest, pleasure and understanding. They reflect O’Shaughnessy’s clinical sensitivity, careful and accurate observations, and the profound quality of her thinking." - Michael Feldman, Psychoanalyst, Chair, Melanie Klein Trust.

"Edna O'Shaughnessy is in outstanding psychoanalyst and she is rightly revered for her personal contributions to psychoanalytic theory. As is demonstrated in this book she has clarity, depth and sensibility, qualities not often found in combination. Her appreciation and understanding of Freud and Klein is enhanced by her own experience based individual approach to adult and child analysis. This is exemplified in this book which will be greatly enriching for anyone interested in psychoanalytic thinking and anyone interested in thinking." - Ron Britton, Psychoanalyst, Former President of the British Psychoanalytic Society

"One of our deepest needs is to understand truly that we are truly understood. The drama begins in infancy; at stake is the possibility of a mind. On occasion we encounter an author whose insight into this fragile dialectic is extraordinary, but who is also so in touch with her reader that she can take us along. Such is the mastery of Edna O'Shaughnessy's psychoanalytical writings. This book is itself an opportunity for understanding and for being understood." - Jonathan Lear, Psychoanalyst, John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

Foreword. Introduction. Papers: The Absent Object. Interminably a Patient. A Clinical Study of a Defensive Organisation. A Commemorative Essay on W.R. Bion’s Theory of Thinking. Words and Working Through. A 3 ½ Year Old Boy’s Melancholic Identification With an Original Object. The Invisible Oedipus Complex. Seeing With Meaning and Emotion. Can a Liar be Psychoanalysed? Enclaves and Excursions. Psychosis: Not Thinking in a Bizarre World. What is a Clinical Fact? Relating to the Superego. Dreaming and Not Dreaming. A Projective Identification With Frankenstein: Some Questions About Psychic Limits. Whose Bion? Mental Connectedness. Intrusions. Gratitude. Where is Here? When is Now? Reviews. Review of Phyliss Grosskurth, Melanie Klein: Her World and Her Work. Review of Herbert Rosenfeld, Impasse and Interpretation. Review of Gérard Bléandonou, Wilfred Bion: his Life and Work 1979-1979. Review of The Dead Mother: the Work of André Green, Edited by Gregorio Kohon. References

About the Author/Editor

Edna O’Shaughnessy is a Distinguished Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and a training and supervising analyst for adults and children. She is also a supervisor in the Adult Department of the Tavistock Clinic as well as in the Child and Family Department.

Richard Rusbridger is a training and supervising analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society and an Honorary Reader at University College, London.

About the Series

The New Library of Psychoanalysis

The New Library of Psychoanalysis is published by Routledge Mental Health in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

Its purpose is to facilitate a greater and more widespread appreciation of psychoanalysis and to provide a forum for increasing mutual understanding between psychoanalysts and those in other disciplines. The series also aims to make some of the work of continental and other non-English speaking analysts more readily available to English-speaking readers, and to increase the interchange of ideas between British and American analysts.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis published its first book in 1987 under the editorship of David Tuckett, later followed by Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Susan Budd and Dana Birksted-Breen. A considerable number of Associate Editors and readers have assisted the editors.

Under the guidance of Foreign Rights Editors, a considerable number of the New Library books have been published abroad, particularly in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Peru, Spain and Japan.

The aim of the New Library of Psychoanalysis is to maintain the high level of scholarship of the previous series, to provide a forum for increasing understanding between psychoanalysis and other disciplines and to increase the interest of the general book-reading public in psychoanalysis.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis also aims to help the various schools of psychoanalysis to better understand each other. It has published books representing all three schools of thought in British psychoanalysis, including a particularly important work edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner, expounding the intellectual and organisational controversies that developed in the British psychoanalytical Society between Kleinian, Viennese and 'middle group' analysts during the Second World War.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis has also translated and published several books by Continental psychoanalysts, and it plans in the future to continue the policy of publishing books that express as clearly as possible a variety of psychoanalytic points of view.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis